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Serve Your Squad

"Momming" is no easy job. That is why we need a circle of good moms around us to give us help and support. We can also find fulfillment be reaching out to give support and help to the other moms in our life. A great way to get in touch with who we are is to serve others.

It may feel like you have too much on your plate already but breaking free of your mom-world to help others can give a sense of self outside of our family and kids.

Jennifer Benoit, from Yellow and Blues shared the following suggestions:

There are a number of ways that you can offer support to your mom friends who are struggling.

Whether you crossed the stage of new motherhood eons ago or you don’t have children, you can determine what your mom friend needs and how to offer her support.

Support is not a one size fits all model. Depending on what problems your friend is experiencing and her personality type, you want to give her support that won’t leave her feeling like you missed the boat.

First of all, listen to the cues that your friend is giving you. Is she telling you she’s so tired she could cry? Is she frustrated because her partner is not helping her enough? Is she telling you that she simply doesn’t feel like herself?

Listen, then respond.

Here are a few ways that you can offer support:

Just listen.

Sometimes, we are too quick to dole out advice. Unless it’s solicited, stay away from telling her how she should do things differently unless she is asking for specific guidance. It can be that she simply needs an ear or someone to process the experience with while holding her hand. Listening can help her feel a lot lighter. Feeling heard can help empower her to make her own decisions.

Remind your friend who she is.

As mamas, we sometimes need people to tell us “You’re doing a great job. I’m so proud of you.” It’s easy to beat ourselves up and drown in mom guilt for the smallest error or oversight. As humans, we are naturally critical of ourselves. As new moms, we can be hypercritical and lose context that like every other new experience, we are learning and we need to give ourselves grace as we fumble through it. Affirmations can help your friend readjust her expectations and quell that voice in her head telling her about all the ways she needs to do better.

Share triumphant mom stories.

As a new mom, it can feel like everyone else got the memo but you. When you look around on social media or at your friends, you may think that it comes a lot more natural to them. It helps to hear about the war stories and the challenges because it helps new moms feel like they are not alone. If you don’t have your own stories, be prepared to share stories of other moms. As moms, it helps when we don’t pretend as if we have it together all the time so that we can adjust some of the pressure we place on ourselves.

Feed her spiritually.

Sometimes, your friend needs spiritual support. She may need you to pray over her or for her. She may need you to point to a spiritual text that will encourage her during hard times. Maybe she wants you to meditate with her. Spiritual support allows us to feel like we are not alone and that even though we are going through tough times, it won’t last. Regardless of whether you share the same beliefs with your friend, remind her of own beliefs because she may forget to rely on her spirituality as a source of strength.

Offer tangible support.

Providing support with household chores, meals, and babysitting goes such a long way for a new mom. It’s not enough to simply say “Call me when you need me.” Set up an actual schedule for when you will come by. Create a plan with her. Will you be able to cook a few meals and drive them over to her or will you be able to subscribe to a meal delivery service for her? Will you be able to come over for two hours on Saturday to let her rest while you care for the kids? Kind words are great, but sometimes we just need extra hands to help lighten the load.

Offering support can come in many forms. Base your help on what your friend needs and not what you think is best. Also, be mindful of the fact that she may need multiple forms of support. Talk to your other friends as well about you can all support her as a village. This is a time when she needs mothering more than ever. Your contribution can have a tremendous impact on her well-being. The bottom line is that she needs to know that she is not alone!

Kudos to you for reading this because it already shows what an amazing friend you are:)

Little Things, Kelly Glass adds more fun to the list:

Mommin' ain't easy. It truly takes a village to raise children. The same can be said for taking care of mothers. None of us wants to feel like we’re a burden on the people we love, so we often keep our stress and our personal needs to ourselves. As much as your mom friend needs to feel heard, she also wants to be there for her friends, too. Help maintain the mom friendships in your life by fostering connections built on grace and understanding — and reminding your friends of the awesome women they are outside of being “mom.”

1. Invite Her Out — With the Kids and Without She wants to spend more time with you. She also has to coordinate her schedule with her partner or arrange for babysitting. Maybe this isn’t a good time of the month to spring for babysitting expenses. Then again, maybe a girls night out is exactly what the doctor ordered. Invite her out and give her two options: One option includes a kid-friendly place like the trampoline park or an arcade, and the other option includes an adults-only scene. The most important thing is that giving the option takes the pressure off. What’s even better is letting her know that if she can’t make it this time, you’ll plan again in a couple of weeks.

2. Let Her Know It’s OK Not To Do It All Moms have plenty to do in a day, and many of us feel the need to take it all on ourselves. Remind your mom friend that sometimes it’s OK to let go and let someone else do it. Slip her the business card of your local cleaning company. On the back of the card, write, “You’re awesome, and you deserve a break.” Tag her in a Facebook post for a meal-planning service or subscription kids clothing box. Companies like Kidpik can take clothes shopping for stylish, affordable kids clothes off her to-do list. Tell her it’s OK to let the carefully curated styles and ingredients come to her doorstep for a change. 3. Take Her Kids Out To Play Yes, she needs a break. If you’re a mom as well, so do you. This doesn’t have to be a one-sided gesture. Take turns taking the kids to the park or somewhere else fun. Not only does this give your mom friend a break once in a while, but there’s nothing more encouraging than knowing your own kids can go out in public without you and come back in one piece and without causing any major property damage. Look for positive interactions her children have with each other or other children and report back. Saying, “Your kids are really good at sharing with others!” really does go a long way to the mom who feels like she’s never going to get this parenting thing right.

4. Allow Her To Bring Her Entire Self to the Conversation “How are the kids?” my coworkers, friends, and people everywhere would ask. “Great!” The kids were always great. Me? I was sleeping less than four hours a night, burned out, and wishing I had someone to talk to about it. One of the major ways we know to connect with people is over our kids, but moms are, in fact, people too. Remind your friend, and maybe even yourself, of the interests, passions, and goals that were there long before there was a little one or two in the picture. Instead of questions about the kids, ask questions about the friend that you love and care about.

5. Keep in Touch With Handwritten Notes Do your texts to your mom friend sometimes seem to fall into a black hole? They didn’t. They were read, smiled at, and maybe even responded to in her head. Then, one of the kids either got too loud or too quiet, and your text took a back seat to some investigative work. Nevertheless, that interaction was meaningful. That lack of response, however, can start to feel like a one-way relationship for you. Something about a handwritten note or a card changes the game, though. Your friend has a visual reminder of your thoughtfulness and the time it took to communicate with her via snail mail, which may spur her to respond in kind. If you’re feeling extra loving, include a few sticky notes with affirmations written and signed by you. When those notes end up on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator, your friend can’t help but remember exactly who has been encouraging her all along.

Creating a squad of mom friends creates a sense of self as we serve them and allow them to serve us in return.

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